Yttrium oxyhydride (YHO) is a rare‐earth‐metal oxyhydride that has attracted considerable attention due to its outstanding photochromic properties. The transparency of YHO thin films across the infrared and visible spectral regions is reduced considerably under UV illumination (photodarkening) and recovers when the illumination is removed (bleaching). Although oxygen diffusion has been shown to be necessary for these processes, the exact mechanism for the photochromic behavior is not yet understood. In this work, infrared spectroscopy is utilized to investigate the effect of temperature on the photochromic properties of YHO thin films. The measurements show that YHO can photodarken at temperatures as low as 5 K, where anion diffusion is expected to be severely limited. The bleaching of the films is small, but not zero, for temperatures between 5 and 50 K. A stepwise recovery of the transmittance is observed as the temperature of the films is increased above 100 K up to 250 K. The temperature‐dependent data show that anion diffusion is not required to explain the photochromic behavior of YHO, and that an additional mechanism (or mechanisms), e.g., electronic charge transfer, contributes to the photochromic behavior of YHO, as well as other rare‐earth‐metal oxyhydrides.
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